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Imagine if a good game: ESPN sees rating increase despite rout

You know you have a horrible game when all everyone talks about is a 73-year-old man ogling Miss Alabama.

You can be sure ESPN executives were holding their breath whenever Brent Musburger started talking about A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. Careful now, Brent.

By the way, this video has recorded nearly 500,000 views as of 11 a.m. ET.

As for the rest of the evening, well, not so much. This wasn’t a BCS title game. This was an Alabama-Western Kentucky mismatch in September.

The rout killed any hopes of a record rating for ESPN. It’s a tribute to the drawing power of the two schools that the overnight rating actually was up.

From ESPN:

ESPN’s Discover BCS National Championship  – No. 2 Alabama’s 42-14 victory over No. 1 Notre Dame on Monday evening — delivered a 15.7 overnight rating, a 14 percent increase from the 2012 game between Alabama and LSU (13.8 overnight rating), according to Nielsen. This metered-market rating – the highest for all of cable television in two years, since the January 2011 BCS National Championship on ESPN, helped drive the network’s five-game BCS average to a 9.0 metered market rating.  That represents a 6 percent increase over a year ago (8.5 for the five-game average). Additionally, the game was the highest-rated program on Monday, helping ESPN win the night among all networks.

In terms of local markets, the Discover BCS National Championship was the third highest-rated ESPN bowl game telecast on record in Birmingham with a 55.1 rating. Overall, 17 different markets set local ratings records by delivering the highest rating ever for a bowl game on ESPN (records go back to 2000).  Last night’s top five rated markets were Birmingham, New Orleans, Knoxville, Nashville and Atlanta.  National ratings information, including television and online viewership should be available later today.

As for next year, instead of a traditional title game, perhaps best two out of three for the SEC finalists. Probably would be more interesting.

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